Today Samsung announced mass production of a SoC built on its third-generation 10nm "10LPE" manufacturing node. It was only this January that Samsung announced mass production of its 14LPP process that ended up being used in the Exynos 8890 and the Snapdragon 820 powering up a large amount of flagship devices this year.

This time around the announcement comes quite early compared to the past 2 years and I wasn't expecting any news from the foundry till maybe later in the quarter. This does however bode well for the SoCs built on the process as they seem they'll be able to easily make the spring 2017 device release schedule.

There wasn't any specification as to what kind of SoC the mass production announcement is refering to, but it's very likely we're talking about S.LSI's next generation Exynos - or maybe even Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 successor, both of which we'll hopefully hear official announcements from in the coming months.

Samsung’s new 10nm FinFET process (10LPE) adopts an advanced 3D transistor structure with additional enhancements in both process technology and design enablement compared to its 14nm predecessor, allowing up to 30-percent increase in area efficiency with 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power consumption. In order to overcome scaling limitations, cutting edge techniques such as triple-patterning to allow bi-directional routing are also used to retain design and routing flexibility from prior nodes.

Credit: DAC 2016 Samsung/Synopsys Breakfast - Ready to Design at 10nm!

The process promises some significant speed and power efficiency advantages over current generation designs so it's likely the next generation of devices will see a large boost, similarly to how the first 14/16 SoCs had large improvements over previous generation 20/28nm designs.

Interestingly the new SoCs will have an edge on recent and upcoming designs still being released on 16nm manufacturing processes, such as Apple's A10 or other TSMC customers who have to wait till next year for 10FF. This presents itself as an opportunity for vendors such as Samsung and Qualcomm to try to close the performance and efficiency gap seen in the current generation through the manufacturing process' good timing.

Source: Press Release

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  • jjj - Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - link

    Even so the older models remain in retail and volumes for the new models would not increase by a lot unless the design gets a major upgrade.
    The 12 inch ipad sold poorly and the 9.7 inch Pro failed to boost their units.It's very obvious if you look at their quarterly sales in the least few quarters.
    However, a spring upgrade for the entire line is unlikely as it makes more sense to do some upgrades now ahead of the winter holidays.
    Macs could go ARM , maybe just the Air first and that would add 1-2 million units.Someone recently spotted ARM support in OS X so Apple is at least pondering a shift.
  • kitty4427 - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Maybe Samsung should start manufacturing desktop CPUs so that Intel actually has a competitor.
  • Toss3 - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Not sure how lucrative that would be considering they don't have a license for x86. AMD are already using Samsung's nodes by using Global Foundries, as they license theirs from Samsung (at least the 14nm FF node).
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    That would either require a x86 license or desktops to move to ARM. Both are about as likely.
  • sypack - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Recently there was a rumour that Samsung would buy AMD.
  • A5 - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    The long time rumor is that AMD's x86 license gets terminated if they are bought out.
  • looncraz - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    That's a fact - not rumor.
  • vladx - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    It makes no sense for Samsung to buy AMD, the only real buyer option would be Apple since they need x86 for their Macbooks.
  • boozed - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    Hurr durr does it catch fire

  • Michael Bay - Monday, October 17, 2016 - link

    They just needed to trumpet SOMETHING after exploding phones fiasco. Expect it to be as much 10nm as their 14nm was a couple years before.

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